Vintage Pulp Mar 10 2020
A MEDICAL ISSUE
When I ask you to disrobe it doesn't seem like you get excited the way you used to.


The sprawling 1925 medical novel Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1926, but no book was so lofty it couldn't be reworked to fit the pulp paperback aesthetic of the 1950s. We read this way back when we attempted to go through the entire Pulitzer list in order. Some of those books were amazing, like Edna Ferber's So Big, and others made us almost abandon the project. Arrowsmith was somewhere in the middle for us. The subtly sexual art by Barye Phillips fits this classic, because the main character Martin is sort of a serial romancer who can't stick with one woman even when he tries.

Did we ever finish that Pulitzer list? No. Once we learned that even among the best books ever written some are markedly better than others, we began skipping ahead and finally stopped after To Kill a Mockingbird and The Edge of Sadness. Those two very different and indescribably awesome novels completed our interest in deep examinations of the human experience. After those, we wanted to have fun when we read. We moved on to the frights, thrills, and speculations of horror, vintage crime, and sci-fi, and that's where we mainly reside today. But Arrowsmith was interesting and we recommend it for a compelling read. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 29 2009
HANGING LOOSE
Women who shed excess weight can enjoy a brighter future.

The above cover can be interpreted a couple of ways. It’s possible the man is the hero, and he’s trying to lead the women on an escape from prison, but it seems more likely he’s just a coward who, in his terror, is about to drag the women to their doom. The metaphors go deep, but whatever the case, we love the art. Adventure began publishing in 1910, and was home to many respected artists and authors, not least among them novelist Sinclair Lewis, who in 1930 became the first American to win the Nobel Prize for literature (he had won the Pulitzer earlier but declined it). While he was an editor at Adventure he helped create a novelty identity card that was included in issues of the magazine. Readers carried the card, and if they were killed, whoever found the card would notify the magazine, who would in turn notify the reader’s next of kin. The idea was a flight of pure fancy, but also a stroke of genius, and the cards became such a powerful idea that a group of reader-travelers formed the Adventurers Club of New York in 1912. That club led to similar clubs being formed in other cites. A cursory check on the trusty interweb reveals that at least one—the Los Angeles chapter—survives today, so if the magazine cover has inspired you, there’s a place you can meet with like-minded types. Who knows? With a little effort and good fortune, maybe you’ll get to escape from prison on a bed sheet yourself one day.     

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
March 05
1956—Desegregation Ruling Upheld
In the United States, the Supreme Court upholds a ban on racial segregation in state schools, colleges and universities. The University of North Carolina had been appealing an earlier ruling from 1954, which ordered college officials to admit three black students to what was previously an all-white institution. In many southern states, talk after the ruling turned toward subsidizing white students so they could attend private schools, or even abolishing public schools entirely, but ultimately, desegregation did take place.
1970—Non-Proliferation Treaty Goes into Effect
After ratification by 43 nations, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons goes into effect. Of the non-signatory nations, India and Pakistan acknowledge possessing nuclear weapons, and Israel is known to. One signatory nation, North Korea, has withdrawn from the treaty and also produced nukes. International atomic experts estimate that the number of states that accumulate the material and know-how to produce atomic weapons will soon double.
March 04
1969—The Krays Are Found Guilty of Murder
In England, twins Ronald and Reginald Kray are found guilty of the murder of Jack McVitie. The Kray brothers had been notorious gangsters in London's East End, and for their crimes both were sentenced to life in prison, and both eventually died behind bars. Their story later inspired a 1990 motion picture entitled The Krays.
1975—Charlie Chaplin Is Knighted
British-born comic genius Charlie Chaplin, whose long and turbulent career in the U.S. had been brought to an abrupt end when he was branded a communist and denied a residence visa, is bestowed a knighthood at London's Buckingham Palace. Chaplin died two years later and even then peace eluded him, as his body was stolen from its grave for eleven weeks by men trying to extort money from the Chaplin family.
March 03
1959—Lou Costello Dies
American comedian Lou Costello, of the famous comedy team Abbott & Costello, dies of a heart attack at Doctors' Hospital in Beverly Hills, three days before his 53rd birthday. His career spanned radio and film, silent movies and talkies, vaudeville and cinema, and in his heyday he was, along with partner Abbott, one of the most beloved personalities in Hollywood.
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